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The high stakes of a U.S. withdrawal from Syria

A U.S. military base in Manbij, Syria. Photo: DELIL SOULEIMAN/AFP/Getty Images

President Trump surprised allies, adversaries, and even some advisers last Thursday when he said the U.S. would be pulling out of Syria “very soon.” The clearest indications of what happens next came in statements today from Press Secretary Sarah Sanders and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats.

The bottom line: Sanders confirmed that the Trump administration is taking the idea of pulling out of Syria seriously — but said the anti-ISIS fight isn't finished yet, and there are no immediate plans to withdraw. That shows "the president’s top military advisers ... have succeeded — at least for now — in persuading an impatient commander in chief not to order a quick withdrawal," per the NY Times.